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Season 1 - Episode 7

Day 6: An Instrument of God

55 min - Talk


Can I become an instrument of the will of God? In Day 6, Ravi guides a meditation on the question “Am I breathing or am I being breathed?” We explore the concept that will, knowledge, and action are not of the individual but rather expressed through the individual by God. We are asked to relate these concepts to our own lives.
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Today we'll focus our meditation on the remark from the book of Genesis that God created human beings from the earth, then He breathed His own breath into them to make them alive. Sometimes the translations are slightly different, but basically that is the idea. So bring some attention to your breath right now. It can be a little bit more clear and distinct. For a few moments just put one of your hands on your abdomen and movement of the abdomen up and down corresponding to breathing in and breathing out.

It also naturally tends to deepen the breath, but not to hold the breath inside or outside. But as I become aware of my breathing, the quality of my breathing changes. Then I can let go of my hand and remain in contact with the fact that breathing is taking place. What is the feeling that comes in me if I again remind myself that it's the breath of God that is keeping me alive? Then we come to this very great mystery not to try to figure it out just with the head, but what is the feeling behind it?

The question is, am I breathing or am I being breathed? To approach any mystery, first of all, it is clear that I don't have a predetermined conclusion. So I simply watch my breathing. And intentionally I hold my breath for a few moments and watch where does the force to restart my breathing comes from. Try two or three times not to come to any conclusion one way or the other, but to really wonder about this.

Not necessarily to accept a given terminology here, but in general I see that I cannot not breathe. The life force or the life energy in me forces me to breathe again. I cannot hold my breath for more than a few seconds. Again, if I just try it once or twice at my own tempo, what sort of feeling do I find arising in me? Is it a fear of something or wondering why is this body being breathed?

Is it a fear of something? Similarly, about other energies and movements in the body, I take a moment as if I was taking my pulse using fingers of one hand and placing it on the wrist of the other arm, taking my pulse. And then I can become directly aware that the blood is moving in my arms. Am I controlling this movement? Can I stop this movement? Similarly, one could have used one's hand on one's ankles.

We do not need to do it, but easily one can extend this understanding that there is movement of blood in each of my limbs. And similarly, we are not always aware of this, but all sorts of other movements, other energies in the body. In fact, whenever any of these movements are interrupted by something or by an accident, my limbs will begin to atrophy. So I again return to this mystery. Am I creating these movements or something other energy or other source is creating these?

Okay. And then a question to oneself, which we can then also try. These movements are going on in any case as long as I am alive and they are not being initiated by me. The question then is, if I become aware of them, does it change the quality of these movements? So I become aware of my breathing without artificially imposing a change by holding my breath or by deepening intentionally lengthening my breathing.

I am simply aware of the fact that breathing is taking place without forcing any kind of change according to my ideas. Similarly, I bring my attention to becoming aware of the movement of blood or really the whole energy in all of my limbs, but especially for the moment, the right arm. And that requires a quick action before I turn my attention to my left arm, but immediately first of all to sense do I feel a slight difference in the quality of energy in my right arm which I have been trying to be aware of and the left arm which I was not aware of until now and then intentionally try to be aware of the movement of energy in my left arm. And I try the same in my right leg and the left leg. What is at issue here is to understand the important idea that attention and intention, of course undertaken sincerely, are a source of some real transformation in my whole organism.

We pay attention as well as pay with attention as if this is from my side the contribution I need to make. Because these energies are not created by me, my breathing is not created by me. How do I assist their connection with something slightly higher or more conscious? Again we always have a limitation of time, so we will just take three more breaths now and then we'll stop. Thank you very much.


Now to some extent always good idea to relate with some other things we have been already speaking about, namely to see the two in one, I and me or the self and the ego or whatever other labels we wish to, spiritual nature, carnal nature. But that doesn't mean that one has to be against the carnal nature or against the ego or the body-mind. That is intended to be either the temple of the spirit or the instrument of the spirit for its work, so it needs to be taken care of. On the other hand, it needs to find its proper place. It is not the main thing, but it is needed for some purpose, but that purpose is not of the body-mind. The purpose is actually of the spirit that the body-mind is supposed to serve. So to say something which I have even more than once quoted already, that ego is a good servant, but a bad master, it also means dying to the self as Christ repeatedly calls us, dying to the self or leaving the self, or freedom from the self or leaving the self behind, does not mean to be against the self or killing the self.

It is very important to keep in mind. Sometimes very strong expressions actually do get used. For example, Christ himself says, unless you hate yourself in the world, very strong expression. It is true. Sometimes that is required because every teacher is speaking to some particular pupil, some disciple. So even there, I recommend even the remarks and the teachings of the greatest sages like Christ or the Buddha or Krishna, that even there, not everything to be taken so literally because certain things are said in a certain context to certain people. And certainly you can definitely find, particularly in John's Gospel, Christ speaks very strongly, unless you hate your worldly self, you cannot come to any real self. That would seem very strange actually in a spiritual context, hating something.

But these expressions are also there. But I am in any case inviting you to realize that the point here is not to be against the ego. As certainly, in my own case, as Madame de Soleim has repeatedly said, whenever the ego finds something real, it finds its place. It doesn't then assert itself. If it does not serve intentionally the ego, then it automatically serves the ego or emotional energy. One recognizes the presence of I from the fact that I wish to serve. Ego does not wish to serve. But until there is the I, let the ego be. It can be useful.

When the I appears, the ego automatically loses energy and becomes unimportant. It can still be there, but it is not in control. As the Buddha said, Mara, you are a part and parcel of myself. It is still there. It's not in control. It's not running him or running Christ. And of course, the struggle against self-will or the ego is really emphasized everywhere. I think the other day I gave several different quotations from different traditions here.

But I repeat this from Theologia Germanica. Only those can come to eternal life who do not bring themselves, who have died to themselves. No one who is anyone is fit to be one with God. Nothing burns in hell except self-will. Now, dying to oneself, again, one needs to be very careful with all of these expressions.

That doesn't mean killing oneself. Nobody is suggesting Harakiri. That would be very strange. But really, how can I be free of what is driving this self here? This is the remark of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The one who sees that the forces of nature and nothing else is the doer and knows what is above the forces of nature. Such a person attains my state of being, Krishna says.

This is actually the call, as I have probably more than once said here, that all the great teachers are actually, the Buddha is asking you to become the Buddha, to become aware. And I quoted from Gospel of Philip, it becomes non-canonical. Christ came not to make us Christian, but to make us Christ. What does it mean to be Christ? In this particular context, it will be to become the Son of God.

And ultimately, can the Son of God himself rise enough, son or daughter of God, rise enough to be able to say, God and I are one, or the Father. He used the expression, the Father and I are one. Again, not to get attached to these expressions either. Nobody in India would have used that expression. It's just not part of the tradition. There they would probably say, Atman is Brahma, Atma referring to the deepest self.

That would be the classical expression in India. But the suggestion of Krishna, that to begin to recognize that large forces are at play. And I have recommended to many of my friends, some of you may have even heard me, but let me mention this again here. You take in your own life three or four events that you believe have changed your life. Nobody else needs to suggest this. This is your own life.

You're making a self-inquiry. And then, for example, usually for most of us, the person we married obviously changes one's life. In my own case, I got a Commonwealth scholarship to come to Canada. And that for me, it's a weird, strange land. It's not how Indians behave or what Indians do.

Just like if you went to India, you'll feel the same. And so for me, that changed my life. And similarly, meeting two or three people who, in my judgment, are very exalted people like Krishnamurti or Miranda Saldana. It actually changed my life. But you decide your own. Nobody else needs to.

Whatever you feel changed your life. Take three, four events. Then, whenever that event took place, start a year, or if you like, two years earlier, impartially, write down what contribution did you make to bring that event about. I guarantee you'll be surprised. No, because we don't actually look at ourselves impartially, our own situation.

Then one would have more appreciation for this remark of Krishna, that there are forces of nature. He calls it forces of nature, but nature is also being, if you like, guided or ruled. All the great scientists, especially Newton more than anybody else, very much believe that all laws of nature are actually being initiated by God. These are exactly his expression. Maybe I should take a moment here to tell you something about Newton.

Scientists in general have difficulty completely agreeing, who was the greatest scientist in history, either Einstein or Newton. These are the two characters. But Newton was hardly negligible. Take my word for it. Encyclopedia of religion, which has 16 or 17 volumes, it was published, I think, in 1987 or 88.

So big libraries all have them. They had invited me to write articles on Newton, Einstein, Galileo, Kepler, four of the greatest scientists, and also an article on science and religion. So you can find much of what I'm now about to say there, because since it was encyclopedia of religion, I naturally took time to more or less look at the religious side of these scientists, because it was the encyclopedia of religion that had invited me. So you'll have to take my word for the moment here. Newton wrote more words in alchemy and theology than in physics and mathematics.

And he, by the way, also is rather funny and interesting. The Trinity College in Cambridge University wanted to make him the master of the college, but he did not believe in the Trinity. He was a Unitarian. So they had to have a special exemption by the emperor to allow him to become the master of the Trinity College without believing in the Trinity. It's all very funny if you actually look at it.

People often don't realize. I actually remind people, if you take, if you mention six or seven most significant scientists in the history, guaranteed at least out of seven, six would be spiritually oriented. Darwin, for example, most people don't realize the only one degree he had was a degree in theology. I know people are always surprised by what I say, but you can check all this. Don't just buy what I'm saying.

No, it's quite, so Newton, but Newton was not married. He didn't have any children. His nephew called Philip Newton inherited his papers, some of them with these theologically oriented papers. And this nephew of his was a little surprised, and actually slightly shocked by this, thinking, because meanwhile Newton had become the president of the Royal Society of England, et cetera. I mean, highly regarded scientists.

In fact, even a poet, somebody's pope called, wrote that nature was in darkness until Newton came and brought light. No, Newton was very highly regarded. In fact, that created a lot of trouble for English science afterwards, because whatever Newton did not agree with, none of the English scientists could agree with it. For example, whether light travels in rays or in waves. European scientists are coming to discussing it in waves, but Newton had said in rays, so English science actually declined for a little while because of the greatness of Newton.

It's quite ironic, actually. But in any case, coming back to, so he, this character Philip, hid away many of these papers of Newton, realizing that Newton actually died, I believe, in 1732, or something very close to this. I may be forgetting a date. But they were discovered publicly only in 1941. During the war, in England, there was a call to gather funds.

People, the country needed funds. So whosoever had these papers, they auctioned them. And one very well-known economist, Lord Keynes, I think, he bought these. And this is the remark he made after he looked at these papers. He said, it seems that rather than being first of the moderns, Newton was the last of the magicians.

And this is a quote from one of the remarks of Newton, that all he has done when he published his Law of Motion and Law of Gravitation is to put these laws in the modern mathematical language, something that was already known to the priests of Chaldea and Brahmins of India. This is Newton, very much alchemically oriented and very much interested in what he called prissa sempienta, meaning ancient wisdom. Prissa sempienta. So people actually often don't realize some of these things. There are actually many of these great minds, precisely because they are great minds, they are much more inclusive.

They are not stuck on just one narrow line. Similarly, Einstein, in fact, one of my mentors in the Guruji of Teaching, Dr. Welch, was one of his physicians, who actually said he was one of the most spiritually oriented person he had ever met. Einstein. I often actually quote him in some different context, maybe even here, might have an occasion to do that. But in any case, we come back to this, what I am trying to emphasize, this idea that it's not everything being driven by my self-will, there are very large forces at play.

That's what Krishna is saying here, and I am inviting you to see in your own life. Take, as I said, three or four major events and to see how much contribution you made. That, on the other hand, does not mean that we make no contribution. In fact, a very strong remark in one of the great Upanishads, every human realization is a combination of, if you like, I use the Sanskrit words, first of all, Tapas Prabhava and Deva Prasad. Literally, it would mean effect of human effort and benediction of the devas.

Devas are like angels, if you like, that every human realization is a combination of these two things. Generally, in the Christian tradition, there has been a continuing, almost sometimes a fight, actually, about grace and effort. This might, I hope you people are amused by some of these things, Martin Luther, partly because he was reacting very much to what was being emphasized at that time by the churches. You give this and this donation, that is your effort, then you'll have place in heaven, etc. So he was very much reacting against it.

Luther's idea was absolutely no effort can lead to anywhere. Effort cannot convince the Holy Spirit to do anything. It's all a matter of grace. Now, they don't actually quote this in the Lutheran churches, but take my word for it. He actually wrote, therefore sin bravely.

This is Martin Luther. Partly he said that because he decided to marry the non-cate. So sin bravely, because no effort can affect the Holy Spirit. That is one extreme side. The other extreme side is only effort.

And what is absolutely ironic that in the Protestant world, which is very much started by Martin Luther, more emphasis now is on the effort. This is completely ironic. If you look at the Protestants generally in USA, for example, or anywhere, they are much more effort oriented. They have to achieve something. This is her.

But Luther actually was completely reversed of this. That no effort can influence the Holy Spirit. But partly he's reacting against what the church was doing at that time, the Catholic Church. So many things become just political issues. In any case, I didn't want to get too carried away with all this.

The thing, this whole question of effort and action is a very important idea. What is actually highly recommended in serious spiritual teachings that I shouldn't be doing it. It's not that I'm not doing anything, but it shouldn't be done according to my ideas, my will, my decision. Can I become an instrument of the will of Krishna or the will of God? That is really the fundamental idea.

And in this connection, I will take a little bit of a side trip to bring you a few words from Sanskrit, but they are quite well known. Karma literally means action or work. And karma bandhana means bondage of action. The idea is that every action has a reaction. It places you in a context of cause and effect.

And so it binds you in that chain. That's the idea. And what is most recommended by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita is something called nashkarmya, meaning actionlessness. Actionlessness, sometimes it is better to translate this as actorless action. Because as Krishna himself says, the state of nashkarmya is not arrived at by inaction. Nobody can be without action. Even sheer survival requires action.

So the question is, how do I come to a state of non-action? So the two general suggestions that Krishna makes, that's the reason I gave this word, karma bandhana, that how can I be a little less and less attached to the fruits of my action? I do what needs to be done, whether it will succeed or fail, not to get so attached to it. Because in fact, purely psychologically, if I do something and right away I'm concerned about its success or failure, it takes my attention away from the action, displaces it in time. One of the examples I have occasionally given to my friends, this was at least 45 years ago, some friends of mine and myself, we went to an art teacher, we wanted to do some painting.

And I remember first evening sitting there, I think I spent more time wondering when this will hang in the National Art Gallery than actually doing the painting. That's the kind of thing that Krishna is saying, don't get so stuck on this. Just do what needs to be done without getting attached to the fruits of action. Because he gives a whole background to this, that whether something succeeds or does not succeed, doesn't wholly depend on what you do. It also depends on the benediction of the devas.

Actually, this kind of thing is very common, especially in the history of science. Seven scientists or five scientists can have exactly the same data. But one of them comes up with grand theory. Why? Is it just accidental? People themselves are sometimes surprised.

In fact, this used to be a very common idea, that they work hard and then they just go to sleep and have a big drink or something, or go for a walk. At the Institute for Advanced Study, where I was also invited to be a fellow there for some time, I was always very struck. Most of the scientists there, they'll be in their office only for a short while. They're mostly walking in the forest. So you do your part, but let the devas or the angels or the other side also intervene.

Very strong suggestion. So Krishna also very much emphasizes what he calls yajya karma or yagi karma, which means action undertaken as a sacrifice. That that does not lead you to your will. But the emphasis really is on nashkarmya. And then this is a remark of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, that no one obtains the state of freedom from action or nashkarmya by simply abstaining from action.

Nor does one approach fulfillment by renunciation alone. No one ever exists, even for a moment, without some activity. Everyone is forced to engage in action, however unwillingly, by the forces of nature. But it's quite interesting on the other hand, so much emphasis that it's not my action. So here is also a remark of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

Steadfast in yoga, the knower of truth realizes, truly I do nothing at all. But to place this in the context of Christ teaching will be important. But before I do that, let me mention another remark of Krishna. He says, even the sages are bewildered about what is action and what is non-action. The way of action is profound.

One who can see non-action in action and action in non-action accomplishes all work in yoga and is wise among humans. So I raise a question for you. When the Buddha is sitting under the Bodhi tree, is he engaged in action? So it really depends on what we understand by action, right? But coming back to the remark of Christ here.

This is from the Gospel of John, 8th chapter. This is what he said. I do nothing of myself. I seek not my own glory. I am not the source of the words I speak to you.

It is the father who dwells in me doing his own work. Here is, if you like, the perfect attainment of what Krishna is trying to say. That a yogi sees that I do nothing at all. It's all being done through me, meaning that I become an instrument. It's not that I am not doing anything, but it's not my action, not my will.

Similarly, this is, Sanskrit's word was nashkarmya that I just mentioned here. One could say actionless action or actorless action. Literally, it simply means a state of inaction. Or non-action would be better rather than saying inaction. Or freedom from action.

Similarly, this word actually is not in the Bhagavad Gita, but I have often said Krishna is a friend of mine. He would agree that it's a nice word to have. Nashjanya, meaning knowing less knowing, if you like. But it's not a state of ignorance, just as nashkarmya is not a state of inaction. This is not a state of ignorance, but it is freedom from knowledge.

Simply recognizing that even if I had a combined intelligence of Einstein, Shankara, Nagarjuna, I cannot know all there is to know. Therefore, a state of unknowing, a state of willingness to be surprised. If you like, a no or less knowing, or a freedom from knowledge. In this context, actually a very interesting remark of a great Christian mystic, Boham. Not I, the I that I am, know these things, but God knows them in me.

It's not my knowledge, or my knowing. This is a very great mystic. And the oldest Upanishad, Brahadara Nik Upanishad, actually this is a remark from there. It's repeated in a later Upanishad, also Isha Upanishad. Into great darkness they enter those who worship ignorance.

But into still greater darkness enter those who are addicted to knowledge. How can I know something and be free of my knowledge? How can I be available to whatever comes? In this context, I would like to tell you again continuation of the same story that I said about Socrates. Same place in Fido. This is the last book of Plato.

He has been condemned to die. So naturally, some of his pupils are gathered and some of them are crying. Socrates says to them, you are behaving as if you know what happens after death. Furthermore, as if you know what happens after death is worse than what happens before death. Then, at least in my judgment, one of the most classical statements in any philosophy.

Socrates says, because I do not know, therefore I am free. See, it's that kind of unknowing that one is talking about. Socrates could hardly be accused of ignorance. I mean, that's the one thing you can't accuse him of. After all, even Plato is his student. So, since I do not know, therefore I am free, which is to say that he is willing to encounter whatever comes, rather than it has to be this way, otherwise I'll be sad.

This is actually one of the difficulties I see sometimes with many tourists going to other countries or other cultures. They want to have the same kind of food as they are accustomed to at home, have the same kind of environment. Then how do you ever encounter something new, something strange, something different? So, this is actually a very important idea to keep coming back. Nobody is recommending ignorance, so we don't need to be silly about it.

As the Upanishad says, those who are addicted to ignorance are in great darkness. But if you are addicted to your own knowledge, that's the greater darkness. I would also like to say how one can at some stage believe that now we know everything. Some of you would know the name of Lord Kelvin, great scientist. We measure actually absolute temperature in so many Kelvin.

He was president for the British Association for Science. In 1857 or 58, he retired as the president. And his retirement address, he recounts wonderful discoveries that had been made in science in the 19th century, and there were some quite remarkable. And then he concludes his talk saying, I have only one regret left. The future physicists have nothing left to discover.

And this is what he said in 1897. And in 1995, just before that, Mary Curie had published her paper on radiation. 1900 is when Max Planck published his first paper in quantum mechanics. 1905, Einstein published the theory of special theory of relativity. 1911, Bohr published the model of the atom.

1915, Einstein published the theory of general relativity. And 1930, electrons were discovered, 32 positrons were discovered, et cetera. I could give you a whole history of science. Everything we now teach in physics was not known until 1995, which is about only 125 years ago. And here is the president of the British Association for Science saying that he has only one regret, that the future scientists have nothing left to discover.

But you see this kind of attitude we find even now. Now we know everything, as if now we know everything. And so we can now, that tendency is very strong. I sometimes say to people, give some respect to our scientists. In next 1500 years, or maybe 15,000 years, they'll discover something.

After all, they're not dumb. So what does that mean, that something exists which we don't know? Which is why this suggestion from the Upanishad, don't get so addicted to the knowledge. In a state of unknowing. This was actually one of the things which Krishnamurti emphasized more than anybody else I know.

Constantly, he would emphasize this all the time. And this is the remark of Einstein. He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe is as good as dead. For him, there was always a sense of wonder. It was practically written on his face actually, but as I said, I never met him.

But you can see even in the photograph sometimes. Tagore the same way. So he who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe is as good as dead. Then we have this little remark of Jalaluddin Rumi. All theologies are straws, his son burns to dust.

Knowing takes you to the threshold, but not through the door. Nothing can teach you if you don't unlearn everything. How learned I was before revelation made me dumb. This is Jalaluddin Rumi, hardly a negligible sage. And Lao Tzu said, the further one travels, the less one knows.

This is actually, I occasionally point out, you can never come across a great scientist who gave up doing research as if now we knew everything. But occasionally you find somebody like Lord Kelvin saying, now we know everything. And this is John of the Cross. By the way, John of the Cross is now in the Catholic Church, regarded as the Doctor of Mystical Theology. You know the word doctor, there are only few doctors.

There are many saints. Doctor means the one who is officially bringing the doctrine. That's where the word comes from. So when we say he's the Doctor of Mystical Theology, that means the Catholic Church would regard his understanding, his doctrine of Mystical Theology as the Church doctrine. But he was so much troubled and tortured by the Church that you can read his history.

They starved him, incarcerated him. But after his death, he was so much regarded by other people around, they practically tore his body to take two different pieces home. This is when the Church finally canonized him. You have to really see the history. You'll be surprised what the Churches have done.

More organized religion, more harm they have done to spiritual search. That's my sad opinion, but in any case, so this is John of the Cross. He is regarded as the greatest poet in the Spanish language. All he wrote was twelve poems. I came into the unknown and stayed there unknowing, rising beyond all knowledge.

I was so far inside, so dazed and far away, my senses were released from feelings of my own. My mind had found a surer way, a knowledge by unknowing, rising beyond all knowledge. This is John of the Cross, Doctor of Mystical Theology in the Roman Catholic Church. A very great mystic, a very great book. One of them is The Dark Knight of the Soul.

Partly, it is actually a lot of poetry in the Krishna cult as well as in Sufi literature. There is more sadness, more feeling of darkness after you have had the great vision, after Radha has been close to Krishna, then she is separated. That creates the greatest difficulty. We have a very great work in India called Geeth Govind, which actually begins with Radha's pining for the fact that she had met Krishna. That Dark Knight of the Soul is actually his book because now he is not connected with the highest.

That is The Dark Knight of the Soul. In any case, it is really a different kind of knowing that we are speaking about here. It is not against knowledge, certainly not recommending ignorance in any sense. Nobody recommends that. Let me quickly bring you to this remark. This is from the great Christian mystical book, The Cloud of Unknowing.

Thought cannot comprehend God, and so I prefer to abandon all I can know, choosing rather to love Him whom I cannot know. Though we cannot know Him, we can love Him. By love, He may be touched and embraced, never by thought. This is The Cloud of Unknowing. We don't actually know who the author is, but it is the great text.

I highly recommend it otherwise to you. He actually speaks in terms of two different clouds, the cloud of unknowing, and the reality is beyond the cloud of unknowing, but the other cloud is cloud of forgetfulness. Everything you know, put it below the cloud of forgetfulness. That is vairagya, if you like. People like, may I give you this?

This is in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra. Vairagya basically means that freedom from everything I know, everything that I am actually, detachment from. Freedom meaning not ignoring it or denying it, but you are not attached to it. So it's putting everything below the cloud of forgetfulness.


Okay, here is a little exercise if you wish to try.

Do you sometimes experience that something is being done through you, but that you are not doing it? How do you understand such an experience? I can certainly give you my personal experience. Several times in talks here and there, especially, I end up saying things which I had absolutely no idea that I knew. In fact, one particular occasion, which actually brought me in context with the International Theosophical Society very much, I was invited by Radha Burney, who was the president of the International Society.

Their headquarters is in India, and she had invited me to give a talk on science and spirituality or something like this. And they often have very learned people gathered there, highly learned types. One of them stands up in the middle of my sentence actually, says, sir, what you are saying is against the tradition. And something in me was so clear. I actually said, if it is against the tradition, the tradition is wrong.

And literally, only twice this has happened in my life, literally a flame went from my head down to my toes. Even the outsiders could see this. Radha Burney, who was the president of the Society, saw this. She is very occultist anyway. And afterwards she spoke to me. She says, any time you wish to come and speak here, we will take care of your expenses.

You can choose any topic. So it has given me a great deal of freedom because I learned more by trying to teach. In fact, many, many years ago, I remember once going to the dean of graduate studies in our university saying, I want to teach a course in differential geometry. He said, why? I said, because I don't know anything about it.

He practically fell off his chair. I said, I guarantee I'll be ahead of the students by at least two steps. Otherwise my conscience wouldn't bother me. And that I need this in the course of general relativity, about black holes, et cetera. He said, oh my goodness, mathematicians do this kind of thing, so I have to ask them.

So he called the mathematics department, and one of them used to sit in my course on general relativity. He said, oh, let Ravindra do it. But this has been, the Theosophical Society has given me a great freedom. I can now choose whatever topic. Actually, my book on the Yoga Sutras came from that, or similarly the book on the Bhagavad Gita.

Because, for example, in India, every Hindu will tell you that the Rig Veda is the source of their tradition. But I have rarely met a Hindu who has read the Rig Veda. It's like most of the Christians. They haven't really read the gospel. They can keep saying the gospel of the other thing.

So I wanted to learn something about the Rig Veda, and I wanted to teach a course on the Rig Veda. So I could learn something. So that whole freedom actually has come about precisely because I'm willing to undertake something that I don't know. But my conscience will bother me if I don't then at least be a step or two ahead of the students. Okay, thank you so much.


Kate M
2 people like this.
I remember a phrase from the Gītā that particularly struck me: be the mere instrument of the Divine (I paraphrase). And from Christian circles: to let go, and let God... That is simply why we are each here.
Caroline S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for a  very illuminating presentation on knowledge and action - free from knowledge and free from action...that will set us free!
Mary P
This lesson really touched me. Although I do “believe”, I have not felt particularly spiritual in a long time. I was moved during the exercise about being “breathed “ by God, and could FEEL the love of God. Thank you. 

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